Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Rear Tire on The KZ1000 Police Bike

I got the new rear Shinko tire on the KZP. I brought the rear wheel to Shiny Side Up about 5 pm thinking I'd drop it off and pick it up the next day. The owner said he could have it done in 30 minutes or less. It was 25 dollars to mount the tire and 5 dollars disposal fee for the old tire.

Removing and installing the rear wheel on that bike is a bit time consuming.

You have to -

Loosen/remove the exhaust pipe/muffler assembly to get clearance to pull the axle out. The exhaust is one piece so you can't just remove the mufflers. There are 2 split rings on each of the 4 exhaust pipes where they enter the engine that are tricky to get back in right because they tend to fall off or slip out of place. The manual says to use tape to hold them in place. It would have to be some kind of heat resistant tape if you did that. It looked like whoever had those off last time used some kind of fiberglass hear wrap material.

Loosen/remove the saddle bag on the left side which is a bit tricky because the wiring for the blinker runs through the mounting tubes and there wasn't any disconnect nearby. I had to use some bungee cords to keep the saddle bag out of the way and not hanging by the electrical wiring.

Remove the chain from the sprocket, which requires you remove the chain guard (dirty job).

Loosen the swing arm.

Remove the 2 bolts that hold the brake caliper and pull it out of the way - the brake pads fall out when you do that so you have to get the 2 anti-rattle clips and 1 spring clip back into the caliper correctly during installation. You need to remove the brake line from a couple of clips and bungee cord the brake caliper out of the way.

Remove the cotter key and nut from the right side of the axle.

Push the axle out the left side of the bike. There are a couple of spacers and a washer that will fall off that need to be reinstalled.

The rear wheel won't clear the fender with the bike on the center stand. It will clear if you kick a couple of pieces of 2X4 under the center stand though.

Installation is the reverse of removal as they say. Getting the rear axle to line up with the swing arm is a little tricky.

I'd guess it took me 4 hours to get the wheel off and put it back on. It was the first time I'd done that so I could probably cut that down to 3 hours next time. I can see why a shop would charge a hundred bucks or so to mount a tire if you don't pull the wheel off yourself. They probably assume an hour and a half labor. That would be no problem on my Concours but it would be a rush on that police bike.

I got the wheel back on and everything buttoned up after dark and it was raining but I wanted to take a test spin. About a block from home I heard a ping/tinkling sound as something fell off the bike and bounced on the street. Went to look for it with a flashlight but no luck. I found it the next morning. It was one of the split rings from the exhaust that had lodged in the pipes and then bounced out. A car had run over it so it was a bit on the flat side. Luckily it's made of a malleable metal and I hammered it back into a round shape and put it back where it belonged. I ordered a new one from Ron Ayers before I found the old one so I'll have a spare to sell on eBay or decorate my garage.

Those split rings are crazy hard to get back in. There's 8 of them. Not all of them came off since I didn't pull the exhaust off the bike - just removed the 2 nuts on each pipe holder that connects to the engine, loosened various other clamps underneath the bike, and removed the bolt that holds the muffler to the frame, so I could drop the muffler far enough to clear the axle. I made sure each split ring that fell on the floor was reinstalled - but I missed a couple that fell out and lodged on the exhaust pipes. I should have done that job during the daytime.

Motorcycle maintenance is good for relaxing and focusing your mind as long as you are patient. I couldn't afford to have someone else work on bikes even if I didn't like doing my own work anyway.

I've read that some motorcycle shops are reluctant to install tires you didn't buy from them. I haven't found that to be the case at the two independent shops nearest my house. They'll usually tell you they sell tires but they know they can't match internet prices. If you bring in a wheel they are happy to mount a tire for you in my experience. It's a simple job with a tire mounting machine and balancer, so they don't run the risk of losing money on labor costs - which might be the case if they remove the wheel, at least on this bike. Motorcycle Superstore, where I got these tires, has a preferred installer program - so you can look up shops that will install tires using their website.

I have a new front tire ready to install but I'm going to let the OEM front tire wear a little more before I put the new one on.


One thing that surprised me a little during this job was how fast the organic brake pads I put on last year are wearing. I'll need to replace those before winter. I might go with a sintered pad to have a better grip in the rain. The organic pads have to heat up and dry out before they give good braking which isn't ideal in this climate. A sintered pad may wear the disk out quicker. Sintered pads on the rear might contribute to accidently locking up the wheel while braking. Some bikes use sintered pads on the front and organic pads on the rear for this reason.

The KZP OEM pads are organic front and rear so I guess people got used to pre-applying the brakes to dry them off in the rain. I'm always a little amazed law enforcement officers could put so many miles on those KZP's. The seat is comfortable, it handles nice and quick in town and the bike is built solid with good chrome - but out on the highway the frame is like a wet noodle, it gets blown around pretty good, the OEM tires are pretty hard/slippery particularly as the tread wears down, in high (5th) gear it's turning 4000 rpm at 55 mph with some buzz, and the brakes aren't that great, not as bad as the Harley Sportster though since it at least has dual disks on the front. Sportster might beat it off the line from a stoplight though.

According to EBC's website sintered pads have become standard on 99% of I guess the organic pads are a hold over on the old school bikes I have. The KZP began it's production run in 1982 the Concours in 1986 and the Sportster in 1957. To be fair H.D. made a few changes since 57.